Comedian Horatio Sanz, 52, is facing the ruination of his life. He may only have himself to blame.
An anonymous female accuser, now in her 30s, and who has an admitted history of drug abuse, which she blames in part on Sanz alleges the comedian sexually abused her when she was 16.
The woman is bringing the lawsuit in New York State under the Child Victim’s Act which, among other things, was amended to eliminate the civil statute of limitations for two years on alleged sexual abuse for individuals under age 18, regardless of when it happened.
The age of consent is and was 17 when the alleged abuse occurred to the 16 year old girl in 2002. She is not claiming that Sanz and her had actual sex but that he engaged in cyber sex and touched her inappropriately at several parties.
The deadline to file claims under the amended CVA is today, August 14, 2021. The lawsuit was filed on August 12 in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, against Sanz, NBC and Saturday Night Live [SNL}. She alleges to have met Sanz in 2000 when she was 15, and he was 31 at NBC studios.
The woman lives in Pennsylvania and is referred to as Jane Doe.
Sanz was a cast member of SNL from 1998 to 2006. When she was a teen she operated a “SNL” fan website and a Jimmy Fallon fan website, which brought her to the attention of people associated with SNL.
The lawsuit alleges:
- In 2000, as a known online operator of a fan site for SNL, the girl was invited to attend a taping of the SNL show. She was 15. Sanz met her there and kissed her on the cheek and touched her waist.
- When she was 16, she was invited to an SNL after-show party, in May 2001. She drank alcohol and danced. Sanz also drank alcohol at the party. He was almost 32.
- One week later, she was invited to attend another SNL after-show party and was shown around NBC studios.
- On this day Sanz was seated on a couch telling stories to about 8 people, including employees of NBC. Upon seeing the teenager he told her to sit on his lap, with her legs between his legs and his arms around her waist, hips and buttocks. Sanz continued telling stories with he on his lap.
- Sometime after this, he invited people, including the 16 year old girl, to the rooftop of NBC to watch the sunrise. On the rooftop Sanz stood near her and stared at her.
- Some days later in 2001, Sanz and the girl began communicating by AOL Instant Messenger. Sanz gave her news items about the show which she posted on her fan website. This is alleged as part of the grooming process.
- The 16 year old and Sanz began to regularly text via instant messenger.
- They discussed the tragedy of 9-11 2001. The girl said he was in class when it happened. Sanz assured her life would return to normal. This is alleged as part of the grooming process.
- At one point, “Sanz exchanged messages with [the teen] and steered conversations to discuss sex, sexual experiences, sexual activities, sexual fantasies, masturbation.”
- He asked her to send revealing photos of herself.
- He asked her “to perform sexual acts, including masturbation, which he asked her to describe to him.”
- Sanz referred to the teenager as “slut” and “bitch.”
- He gave her instructions on how to masturbate.
- In 2001, the teenager attended another SNL party and drank alcohol.
- Sanz and Jimmy Fallon sat with her. Sanz gave her a rose.
- In Nov. 2001, she attended another SNL party, sat with Jimmy Fallon and had a Budweiser beer. She told Fallon she was a junior in high school.
- On the evening of May 11 and continuing into the morning of May 12, 2002, she was given a limo ride, paid for by NBC, to attend two SNL parties, one of which was at a cast member’s loft. At this party, Sanz put his arm around the 17 year old while they talked with other guests.
- At the party and later alone afterward on that evening and morning, Sanz kissed, touched her breasts, buttocks and attempted to put his finger in her vagina but was prevented because the teen was wearing pantyhose.
- NBC employees [unnamed] were present expressed surprise and dismay.
- While in high school, the girl became depressed and began to use drugs.
- The texting relationship with Sanz continued for years, into her 20s. and while the woman attended college.
- She continued to use drugs. It is alleged that the shame she felt because of the texts, photos and behavior of Sanz caused her to become a drug addict.
- In 2005, [she was approx. age 20] she was hospitalized for drug use.
- She contacted Sanz who “reacted with annoyance” and steered the conversation towards sex.
- After her hospitalization, the two continued to text and have “cybersex.”
- It is not stated in the complaint when the two stopped communicating.
- In the summer of 2019, the now approximately 34 year old woman saw Sanz at a comedy event.
- Several months later, on Nov. 27, 2019, Sanz admitted in a series of confessional and apologetic texts to her that:
- He was “very sorry”
- That she could “#metoo him” because “it happened.”
- He would swear “on a stack of improv books… I’m a different person.”
- “After the Tracy [Morgan] party I really tried to fix what I had done.” [Ed note; Tracy Morgan was a cast member of SNL.]
- “I was very immature and had limited sexual awareness.”
- He admitted he masturbated when they texted and that was “dumb shit.
- However, he said, “I wasn’t jerking off 24/7”
- “I don’t lead my life that way now. I was bragging to you because I was fucked up.”
- “I was a creep but a wounded creep. And I’ve tried to make amends since quitting drinking.”
- “I wasn’t really thinking. But I really didn’t do that with others. It was a fucking big mistake. I’m very sorry. If you want to metoo me you have every right. Believe me I’m not like that anymore.”
- “I don’t love the old me anymore than you probably don’t.”
- “I really cared about you. Just was so low. … It was a new thing. And it was wrong.”
- “I was a lonely wreck and I thought I was giving you some fun at those parties.”
- “Making out with a 16 year old is far from kiddie fucker. Not appropriate but Jesus, Kiddie Fucker?”
- They talked “pretty much” every single day.
- “I fucked up but I fucked up lots in my life so it really hurts that I did this to you.”
- “I spent all my 20s trying to be funny so I wasn’t normal with girls.”
- “I let us get closer and closer. I was a weak man. I was wrong.”
- “I wanted to impress you.”
- “I got out of hand with something new to me.”
- “You happened to be 16.”
- “You made me decoupage. I cared.”
[Ed. note: Decoupage is the art of decorating an object by gluing colored paper cutouts onto it in combination with special paint effects, gold leaf and sealing each layer with varnishes until the “stuck on” appearance disappears and the result looks like painting or inlay work then sanded to a polished finish.]
The woman is represented by Jeffrey Fritz of the law firm of Soloff and Zervanos.
Andrew Brettler, an attorney for Sanz, said in a statement that the allegations are “categorically false.”
“However often she repeats her ludicrous allegations or tries to rope in other high-profile names to generate media attention, they will always be false,” Brettler said. “Before filing this lawsuit anonymously, she demanded $7.5 million in exchange for her silence. We, of course, refused and will vigorously contest these totally meritless claims.”
A civil lawsuit in New York is decided on the preponderance of evidence, which means that a jury [or a judge in a bench trial] decides that it is more likely than not that the defendant caused the injury.
As far as evidence is concerned, if it is proven that Sanz sent a spate of confessional messages in 2019, in effect admitting to having a relationship with a 16 year old, it does not seem likely a jury will fail to find for the plaintiff.
The amount of damages are unspecified in the lawsuit.
In the texts [if they are authentic] Sanz’s seems to say that, at age 32, he was as immature or more immature than the teen girl and that she should take pity on him because he suffered much loneliness as he strove for stardom.
His weight and alcohol may have also been an issue. After leaving SNL in 2006, Sanz said he lost 100 lbs., largely because he quit drinking.
Sanz has appeared in 105 films or shows according to his IMDb page.
If it is true that the woman was seeking $7.5 million prior to filing a lawsuit that was sure to generate publicity, unless there is solid evidence that the Sanz 2019 confessional texts are counterfeit, it seems unlikely that a settlement short of 7 figures will occur
We may never know.
While it is not clear what assets Sanz, who was born in Chile and became a US citizen in 2018, has and can pay in the event he loses or settles the lawsuit, it is clear that NBC has deep pockets. It is not atypical for a large company to settle lawsuits and negotiate nondisclosure of terms.